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Busting the Bully XL Myth



In a world filled with misconceptions about dog breeds, few have faced as much negative press as the Bully XL has lately. These dogs, often unfairly labeled as aggressive or dangerous, have become victims of sensationalism and prejudice. It's time to set the record straight: when it comes to dogs, it's about "deed not breed." In this blog, we'll explore why judging a dog solely based on its breed is misguided and why employing kind, calm and consistent training methods is the key to nurturing well behaved, happy dogs, regardless of their breed.


It's undeniably heart wrenching when dog attacks occur, causing harm and distress to both people and animals. Our shared goal as dog behaviourists and responsible dog owners is to acknowledge the seriousness of such incidents and actively work towards minimising the risk of future occurrences. By focusing on education, responsible ownership and the promotion of positive training methods, we can collectively strive to create a safer and more harmonious environment for everyone, fostering a world where every dog, regardless of breed, can thrive as a well-behaved and beloved member of the community.


The first step in dismantling the negative stereotypes associated with the Bully XL breed is to understand that no dog is inherently aggressive because of its breed. Just like humans, a dog's behavior is influenced by a combination of genetics, upbringing and environment. To label an entire breed as dangerous is not only unfair but also counterproductive. Responsible ownership, socialisation and positive reinforcement training play a far more significant role in determining a dog's behaviour. No matter the breed, the foundation of effective dog training is built on kindness, calmness, and consistency.


Positive reinforcement techniques, such as reward based training, have been proven time and again to yield the best results. Using fear based methods or punitive measures can exacerbate behaviour issues and harm the bond between you and your dog. By creating a loving, safe, and consistent environment for your Bully XL (or any breed), you can encourage good behaviour and help dog's to become happy, balanced companions.



UK based Ellie says, "This picture shows our dog, Crystal. She is an XL Bully. We only use positive reinforcement with her training. Crystal is truly a very kind and a loving dog. Loves people, children, other dogs and is even friendly with our cat. We have a young family and would never put them at risk. Crystal came to us in March this year as a rescue, due to her previous family not being able to take care of her. She is one in a million".


In conclusion, it's essential to break free from the stereotypes surrounding dog breeds and shift our focus to responsible ownership and training methods that emphasize kindness, calmness and consistency. By doing so, we not only help Bully XL dogs overcome their negative image but also contribute to the overall well being and harmony of our beloved canine companions, regardless of their breed or background.


7 comments

7 Comments


Sparky Smith
Sparky Smith
Sep 18, 2023

Wonderful blog and a necessary message - it amazes me that learned people in government are making decisions without evidence. Thanks for writing.

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The issue here is more one of effective policy. Its a blunt instrument but there is little more that government can do given the present statistics on dog attacks. That said it will be time based as many of the people (not all) attracted to the XL Bully will look for the next cross that’s bred to replace it.

The Deed not Breed argument I’ve haven’t seen to date translated into an effective implementable policy that would address a situation that is costing lives

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I have been working with dogs for 30+ years and met some nice XL Bully's in recent times. Every single dog needs proper care as a minimum of course but if a dog is genetically messed up then all the training, loving and kindness will not change the genetics. The breeding is everything.

To say NO dog is born aggressive is nonsense. I would agree that some dogs can become aggressive if they are treated poorly by their owners but please do not preach that NO dog is born aggressive.


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I think the author is trying to make the point that people interpret nurture in different ways. I have seen some people think that feeding a dog and giving them some water is sufficient. Reporting some animal owners to the various charities as not looking after the welfare of their dogs I often get asked "are they well fed and do they have water"? Well yes but they aren't getting walked, the children abuse the dog etc..... nothing gets done because the animal is well fed. That isn't nurture...I think this is the point the author is trying to make.


I have seen an article written by an XL owner, they said they'd be happy to muzzle their dog in…


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For those who believe we are not true animal lovers because we don’t all rush to vehemently defend a dog breed citing the line that I’m sure you’ve all heard many times before 👇🏻


“iT’s AlL aBoUt HoW yOu RaIsE tHeM”


It is not. At all. How you raise them (nurture them) is only a very small part of it, the HUGE part is about what they are, (their nature). Their genetic make up. What they were bred to do. Nature vs. Nurture.


The fact is that different breeds were developed for different reasons. We have all different types of dogs known for a variety of different things. We have herding breeds, guarding breeds, gun dogs, sight hounds, our scent…


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Jo Brewer
Jo Brewer
Sep 18, 2023
Replying to

Excellent comments and I entirely agree.


As a behaviourist and dog trainer, and a rescue worker the most common calls we get are to rehome this breed due to aggression. Once aggression has entered the gene pool, it is an accident waiting to happen in the wrong hands. I have had a number of near misses walking my dogs with XL Bully's off lead always with a certain 'type' of owner some where off in the distance whilst their dogs are left out of control where I have had to make a quick retreat to safety.


Furthermore, we know this breed is commonly associated with macho young men in their 20s, with these dogs used as commodities and for aggression.…


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